Robert Neffson

    Attributes

    • Male
    • Hyperrealist

    About the artist

    1949: Born in New York City

    "Imagine a sparkling clean city where the sun is always shining, the streets are wide-open, the sidewalks are roomy, and blue sky goes on for miles. This is Robert Neffson’s New York City. In this appealing series of photorealist paintings of Manhattan, Neffson gives the city the crispness and airiness of a bright, early weekend morning, before the streets buzz with activity. But these scenes don’t take place in the morning. Pedestrians carry shopping bags, stores are open for business, and the sunshine beams from the west. Even when the streets are crowded, they seem tidy and boundless. 

    It’s not that Neffson scrubbed the city clean or even radically idealized it. Rather, he seems more interested in formalism, in playing with compositional devices, than naturalism. The paintings, which showed midtown intersections, for the most part, look as though he captured each scene from a distance with a wide-angle lens. Cars, buildings, and people, painted in meticulous detail, seem farther away, and vistas more expansive.

    Neffson sees the geometry of the city foremost—the parallel lines of the architecture, the grids of the streets and windows, the angular shadows the sun casts between skyscrapers. Even "Columbus Circle & 60th Street" depicting the chaotic roundabout, is a study in spaciousness and order, with crosswalk lines guiding the eye. One of Neffson’s fortes is sorting out messy networks of objects, shadows, and reflections in store windows, which he does by systematically breaking down each component into a series of perfect planes."

    Meredith Mendelsohn
    ART NEWS , New York, USA

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